There is a very small number of girls – no matter their age – who want a horse, but would not benefit from owning one. So if you find yourself wondering should I buy my daughter a horse after she’s begged you for one for the thousandth time and shown you websites, and pictures, and books and countless other things representative of her relentless passion… Well, you should probably say YES!
It may be one of the best decisions you ever make in her upbringing. And here’s why…
Reason #1 – A horse will instil responsibility better than any conversation or disciplining ever will
We’re sorry to break it to you, but your daughter’s horse will be a much more effective teacher of responsibility for her than you. Your daughter will love her horse as her very own. As a result, she will automatically feel an obligation to take care of him or her.
A horse will force her to become an excellent time manager, as she will be responsible for feeding, grooming and mucking her horse’s stall. This simply isn’t the same as having to take out the garbage or do the dishes.
A horse is something that she will feel a strong purpose towards and something that is entirely her own. So when she’s making plans for sleepovers, weekend trips, or nights out with her friends – she’s always going to have her horse on her mind and prioritize accordingly.
She will be solely responsible for something so large, and so responsive. Accordingly, you will notice that she will adopt this sense of responsibility throughout the rest of her life as well. She will rise to the role of being a horse owner and this will affect the way she acts in all situations.
You’ll notice that instead of getting herself into trouble like the other kids, your daughter will much prefer to be at the stable with her horse, with her friends from the stable doing something horse-related, out riding her horse, or out working to make the money to support her horse.
Reason #2 – A horse will be there for your daughter when no one else will – until she’s ready to talk to you
Girls who are growing up go often go through long periods where they feel like no one understands them. Being a teenage girl is hard – I know since I was one! She will get mad and sad and frustrated and emotional and hysterical at times.
This is all pretty normal. But, many of those times she won’t want to go to you with her problems. She may be embarrassed or ashamed or they may simple be things she needs to handle without her parents.
I’m going to generalise, so bear with me. But in my experience, girls with horses don’t get desperate and seek out unhealthy ways to unravel their issues. They go cry in their horse’s mane, take long and fast rides and spend the night telling their horse their problems in the stables.
Having a horse for her to do this with will help her calm down and sort through her feelings on her own in a more rational way. It will also help her get to the stage where she wants to talk to you about whatever her problems are.
Reason #3 – A horse is the best form of stress relief, beating yoga, meditation and even Netflix
As I mentioned, when your daughter is upset, she is likely to process it with her horse. Really, you’re as much asking “should I buy my daughter a therapist” as “should I buy my daughter a horse”. This is because horses are THE BEST therapists.
There is nothing like taking a ride to clear your head, or brushing your horse to relax. A horse becomes your best friend and the more you do together, the closer you become. Except unlike people, horses exhibit unconditional love, assured trust and unwavering loyalty.
Working on jumping courses or lead switching or circling can not only relieve stress by being great exercise, but its a great way to get your daughter’s mind off her issues. She will instead focus on her goals and work with her horse to get there.
Even just talking about her problems to her horse into the late hours of the evening when others have gone home will calm your daughter down significantly. This is also much healthier for her than other common forms of stress coping mechanisms such as emotional eating, or binging on Netflix. I also find it to be much more effective than meditation or yoga.
Reason #4 – A horse puts life into clearer perspective for a girl growing up in today’s world
As your daughter is growing up, she’ll have so many influences coming from all sides. They’ll come from friends, social media, the internet, more internet, and more social media. Everything will hit her telling her she needs to be more this way or that way to fit in and be more popular and more pretty and more stylish.
It can be difficult to keep your head on straight with all of the stuff around you. Not to mention that as you grow into a teenager, you also have hormones raging all over the place. You start to get moody, you start to get irritable. You want to be left alone half the time, but then the other half you can’t stand the thought of being alone.
I’m sure as the mother or father of your daughter, you know what I’m talking about. And if you’re the mother – well then you know first hand from your own days growing up!
And then there is high school itself. As a girl in high school, you have to keep up with all kinds of trends. You get sucked into a social black hole that becomes all you know. It all seems so important: what everyone thinks of everyone else, who is cool, and who is dating who.
Generally I’ve found that horse owners are virtually immune to this kind of stuff. They have perspective beyond the group of kids in their classes. They understand whats really important and they know it’s not skipping class or playing beer pong on weekends.
Your daughter won’t care if she has the newest, hottest fashions or the most coveted boy on her arm.
She’ll care whether she can get her horse to change leads easily or jump an oxer or finish a course within a certain time or finally get her horse to easily raise that front left hoof its so stubborn about so she can pick it. She’ll care about being a good, honest responsible person for her horse and for you.
There is just something about a horse that makes you want to be the best version of yourself. It’s kind of like finding your other half but with four legs and a tail. So “should I buy my daughter a horse?” almost becomes “should I find my daughter her other half?” – and I think so.
Reason #5 – Riding and taking care of a horse is actually amazing exercise
You won’t ever have to worry about your daughter’s physical health again after getting her a horse. Riding takes up an insane amount of leg strength, core strength, and – depending how frisky the horse is – upper body strength.
Getting the horse to move, controlling its direction, controlling your own body and keeping on the proper course for whatever exercise you’re doing can be exhausting. Especially in a trot or canter.
Then getting into more challenging posting, two-point, stirrup-less, rein-less and saddle-less exercises make things even more physically challenging.
Then on top of that, you have all of the grooming, the washing, the feeding, the watering, the tacking, the untacking and the stall mucking that need to happen on a regular basis. Lugging water back and forth, lugging food back and forth, carrying tack and mucking the stall clean is all great physical activity.
Reason #6 – A horse makes the value of a dollar crystal clear
I want to be clear here. I do encourage you buying a horse perhaps some initial financial support depending on your daughter’s current age and financial experience, and if it’s within your means. But I recommend that you get your daughter involved financially as soon as possible. She should eventually be responsible for all her horse’s upkeep, veterinary and boarding costs.
Furthermore, if she wants to enter in competitions, she should also be responsible for those costs. This will not only help her to focus on achieving goals, it will also help her to grasp the value of a dollar.
Girls who are financially responsible for their horses don’t have the ability to be frivolous with their finances. She will most likely become the most prudent spender in the house.
Reason #7 – Owning a horse transforms you into an ambitious goal-setter
As I mentioned above, having a horse will ignite ambition in your daughter. She’ll have purpose to form goals, focus on them and pursue them until she achieves them.
There is always some new challenge to go after with a horse. Whether it’s as simple as getting your horse to pick up his or her front right hoof to pick, or finishing a course under your last record time, you can always aim for something.
With horses also come horse friends and this community of people is friendly but also competitive. You can bet that sooner than not, your daughter will want to enter her horse into competitions with her other friends and their horses.
Reason #8 – Horse people are the best people to have as friends
Although horse people are competitive, they are the best kind of competitive. They are supportive of each other, they keep each other in line and they are connected by the everlasting bond of passion for horses.
You can be sure that you will always have people to ride with and learn from when you are part of the riding community.
There is a reason there are so many book series which focus on a group of girls and their horses. The adventures they go on and the unbreakable friendships they share are based on reality. This is really what it’s like when you’re held together by your love of horses and riding.
Having horse friends is nothing like the friends you make in middle school or high school. Sure, they are competitive when it comes to outriding each other but it’s all in good sport and they respect fellow riders.
There is never any kind of popularity contest.
If you love horses and you love riding and you’re good to your horse then you’re in.
Reason #9 – A horse teaches the art of patience better than any animal
Girls generally run low on patience. Social media, the internet and even Netflix require low attention spans and operate at high speed. The result is many girls who can’t even sit through a movie anymore without getting bored or distracted.
Now if a movie is bad, when you’re talking about getting through something like a book or an essay, these tasks turn into torture. With a horse, your daughter will learn from the master how to be patient, persistent and focused.
She’ll learn to out-stubborn her horse – and horses have very long stubborn periods when they want to!
She will have to keep focused and determined when her horse develops an issue like being too feisty or not slowing down when told. She’ll learn to be persistent when her horse doesn’t want to take the bit. And over time she’ll learn not to give up when her horse has a moody day.
Eventually your daughter and her horse will build an amazing relationship founded on perseverance, mutual trust and respect, as well as growth with each other.
Reason #10 – Being around a horse physically makes you healthier
Being around a horse and in a barn will boost your daughter’s immune system. Even though it may seem like the opposite would be true – the more exposure your daughter has from a young age to all the bacteria around horses and in the stables, the more her body will develop resistance towards them and round out her immune system. This is so much more important than the simple question of “should I buy my daughter a horse?”
This isn’t the types of bacteria you’ll find around the house or at school either so you can bet that her immune health will get a one up advantage. Don’t be surprised if she never gets sick anymore and simply skips seasonal coughs and colds.
In conclusion – should I buy my daughter a horse – YES!
Your daughter will benefit in so many ways from owning her own horse. A horse will help her grow up, help her become a strong and independent woman with solid confidence and character. So in answer to the question “should I buy my daughter a horse”, yes, I strongly recommend getting one!
How do you know your daughter really wants a horse?
Of course, there are always things to keep in mind. A horse is a large undertaking. You have to be sure that your daughter is 100% committed. You can usually tell depending if she’s been asking for a horse for as long as you can remember or if its just been a few weeks or months.
Does she cover her room with horse stuff? Is she begging for lessons? Or if she’s already enrolled, is she begging for more lessons?
Does she ramble on about horses forever?
Is she reading riding books or books about breeds and showing?
Is she watching jumping competitions on TV or always begging to watch horse movies?
Does she always go for the stuffed ponies or the horse toys at the store?
Does she look up equestrian apparel and other horse paraphernalia online?
If these traits sound familiar, then you’ve probably got a 100% committed horse-lover on your hands.
Should I buy my daughter a horse? Things to keep in mind!
Also keep in mind that if your daughter has no experience riding horses, enrol her in some riding lessons first so she can develop the basic skills she needs and to make she she actually likes the experience of riding itself. During most beginner riding programs, she’ll also be taught to groom, tack and untack the horse.
There are some great summer programs that will teach all the horse basics but there are plenty of great books she can read as well.
I recommend that if neither you nor anyone else in your family or friend group has experience with horses that you connect with a trainer at the barn your daughter rides at. That way if your daughter ever has questions, concerns or emergencies, you will always have an experienced contact to help you out. Also, definitely find a good vet that’s as close as possible to the stable where you will be boarding or keeping your horse.
What kind of horse should you buy?
Lastly but definitely super important is to match the horse’s skill level to what your daughter needs. There’s a saying that “green on green makes for black and blue”. Basically. if your daughter and your horse are both inexperienced, there is potential for lots of bumps and bruises. Not to mention endless frustration.
Chances are this will be your daughter’s first horse and she’s not an experienced horse woman or trainer (yet). An equally important question to “should I buy my daughter a horse” is “which horse should I buy”. In short, I suggest getting her a calmer, fully trained horse. Let me know if you want me to write a separate article with more buying tips!
I wish you and your daughter all the best! Please don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions below as I would love to help out!
Happy riding 🙂
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